The standard practice for greeting church members during a church service in Latin America is hugging....
everyone. It takes much longer than the quick, four-to-five-handshakes-without-moving-from-your-pew method we use in the states.
The Apostle Paul must have been part Latino because he used the hug-and kiss-each-other-on-the-cheek greeting practice with the members throughout Asia Minor (check out the end of some of Paul's Epistles).
Staying personally in touch with our brothers and sisters in Christ is vital; yet it has become a challenge during this pandemic. Thankfully, we have a way to still see and hear each other through online platforms such as Zoom.
At the beginning of the month, I was able to set up a Zoom meeting with all of our LeadaChild national directors throughout Latin America; I have been in regular communication with our West African and Asian national directors through WhatsApp; and our LeadaChild board has been able to meet online in order to pray for our project sites and make initial plans during these unusual times.
Although we are separated by miles, the words of encouragement, the prayers, and especially - the praise to God for His mercy, care, and grace - create the unique Christian fellowship that our Lord intends for HIs children.
It's not as powerful as face-to-face... but is still a great blessing!
Keep all of these faithful workers in your prayers. In many ways, the circumstances they are experiencing are far more challenging than what we are facing here in the states... yet their faith, hope, love, and joy are still shining through for the sake of the Gospel and those whom they serve.